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Bill Richardson on "Special Report" Gracefully Handles Biased Line of Questioning

Reported by Janie - August 15, 2006 -

As we have seen in interview, after interview, after interview, after interview on Fox, Republicans are given a certain leeway as the hosts lob softball questions, enabling them to spout right-wing talking points. This does not hold true when the subject of an interview is a Democrat however, as "Congressional Correspondent" Major Garrett proved during his interview with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson on last night's "Special Report" (8/14).

MG: "New Mexico's Governor, Bill Richardson, is running for re-election and quietly plotting an '08 White House bid."

BR: "I've been a good Governor and I believe my constituents respect the fact that having been a good governor, if other opportunities come up, they'll give me that chance. But I've been very honest with my constituents in saying that going beyond this re-election is a possibility."

MG: "Richardson is as coy as he is calculating, and New Mexico voters better get used to seeing Richardson in New Hampshire and other early caucus states."

Comment: On Fox, only a Democrat will be labeled "Coy" or "Calculating", despite lack of evidence, as it plays into their stereotype of how they choose to portray the party.

MG: "People representing you have been circulating through Washington, giving people the very strong sense that you're going to run. Why not say it?"

BR: "Because I haven't made that decision."

MG: "You haven't made that announcement."

Comment: Badgering on Fox? Only if the subject is a Democrat!

BR: "I haven't made that decision. It's a decision you have to make after all the decks are clear, and a major deck that I need to clear is my own re-election as Governor of New Mexico."

MG: "A former Clinton-era Ambassador to the UN who has conducted on and off negotiations with North Korea since 1994, Richardson considers his foreign policy experience a strength. He calls President Bush's refusal to negotiate directly with North Korea, Iran and Syria a failure."

BR: "The alternative is to talk to them directly. That doesn't mean that you make concessions, but you try to develop a consensus, you compromise. Pretty soon if you start using standards of bad behavior, the only nation that we're going to be talking to is the Vatican."

MG: "With White House approval, Richardson traveled to North Korea last year and tells Fox the North Koreans recently asked him to make another trip. While he has no current plans to travel, Richardson hasn't ruled out another Bush backed venture."

BR: "This is a case where you've got to be bi-partisan. I want to help my country, they know me, I"ve worked with them, I've had some successful negotiations with them."

MG: "On Iraq, Richardson wants US forces out by the end of next year."

BR: "It should end, I believe, with a timetable. But a timetable tied to a political solution for the three ethnic groups and a reconstruction plan for Iraq."

MG: "That's essentially the Bush policy."

Comment: Garrett preposterously attempts to compare Richardson's stance on Iraq to that of President Bush in an effort to show the strength of the Administration, when Garrett couldn't be farther from the truth!

The Bush plan is "Stay the course", even as the "course" is failing, with no end in sight, and no clear strategy other than the continuing deaths of our soldiers as Iraq deteriorates into a civil war.

The most amazing part of this comment, is Garrett is attempting to portray Bush's plan as involving a timetable, which he has consistently claimed would embolden the enemy (except of course, when the war was being run by a Democrat - then a timetable was necessary), because 57% of Americans support the timetable option, while 60% are against the war entirely.

BR: "No, the Bush policy has no timetable."

MG: "Discontent over Iraq fueled Ned Lamont's victory over Joe Lieberman in Connecticut. Richardson now wants Lieberman, running as an Independent to drop out of the race. But says Lamont will need more than Iraq to win."

BR: "I think Lamont is a good candidate, I've seen him in debates, he can talk about a variety of issues, but he has to broaden his base beyond the anti-war appeal."

MG: "This advice, while well-intentioned, is also a bit self-serving because if Richardson runs in '08, as centrist with this legislature, cut taxes, cut spending balanced budgets, not exactly at the top of the agenda for liberal party activists who see Iraq as the one issue that could propel their party back into power this November.

Comment: Actually, that's exactly what we're looking for in a President. While the Iraq war is a central issue (as it is for 60% of Americans), so is having a balanced budget so our children and grandchildren won't have to continue paying for this ill-conceived war decades from now. However, that isn't the image Garrett chooses to portray, as it would hurt the right's talking point that all Democrats want to do is tax and spend, while cutting and running. The GOP owes Garrett big time for this interview.

Despite the badgering, use of biased language and tone, Richardson came off as intelligent, well-spoken and strong. Other Democrats should follow Richardson's example while appearing on Fox.